Online Video – Where is the interactivity?


Lots of people call out great videos on YouTube.  The Keyboard Cat and Double Rainbow probably have as much unaided awareness as Coke Zero and this shouldn’t be surprising, video works.  TV advertising and millions of dollars of research has proven that over 50 years.

My question is as video moves online, how will it become more interactive?  YouTube has their Creative Gallery which talks about adding a set of different techniques:

  • Overlay Information
  • Outbound Links
  • Branching Storylines
  • Interactive Scenes

and there are a number of other companies offering tools like Video Tagging.  But none of these seem to be catching on a real advertising unit or interactive tool.
We can’t say it all hasn’t been hyped.  In 2006 Business Week ran an article “Video Tagging Gets Cool.”  In 2007 MGM Grand’s “Maximum Vegas Tour” had clickable areas for overlay information and navigation and won a Bronze Cannes Lion.  Today, Maximum Vegas is still on MGM Grand’s site, but it is a linear video.  Video tagging isn’t talked about and few videos include hotspots, branching storylines or even adjacent content tied to the video timeline. 
When you look at a case like Samsung’s “Follow Your Instinct” you see a branching video story that has high production values and sexy actors, but only 300k views.  Perhaps the product message is too strong to go viral like Double Rainbow (28 million views) or keyboard cat (15 million) or even Old Spice’s man on a horse (where the making of had 1.7m views).
It is well understood that video assets made for TV end up on YouTube and that they will be linear.  But all of us are also filming for digital channels and catching outtakes and looking to push the envelope to make our work more engaging. 
Why not more interactivity?

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